CHEESECAKE CREATIONS // PRODUCT REVIEW

During lockdown, we were very lucky to receive some delicious cheesecakes from the lovely lady that is Heather. Heather very kindly put together a trio of cheesecakes for us, which comprised up of the following flavours;
– Mint Aero
This was the lightest of the trio, the cheesecake had a lovely zing to it & wasn’t overwhelming with minty-ness. This was also gorgeously decorated – a real eye-catching piece with the bright green colouring.
– Millionaires Shortbread
This was I would say probably the richest in taste, & was the household favourite. Again, gorgeously decorated! Simple, but looked absolutely stunning.
– Fudge Brownie
This one was my personal favourite, as it was rich but wasn’t too sickly – fudge is one of my favourite things! I also really liked that this sort of had the overload-vibe, the type which you don’t want to cut into & fall apart!

The cheesecakes were very rich & intense – we shared 3 small cheesecakes between 4 people, & there truly was more than enough. A little really did go a long way. That being said, this is good in that you get value for money, also with little to no waste at all. If you’re a bigger eater, the cheesecakes are also available full size. I would hands down buy these over shop-bought cheesecakes any day. The flavours offered a lot more depth, & were much more fresher-tasting. I would go as far as to say they are by far the best sweet treat we’ve tried to date (& there has been a lot through this pandemic!)

Not only did the cheesecakes taste amazing, but the detail & presentation was outstanding, the cheesecakes were showpieces in themselves! They’re definitely the sort of thing you don’t want to stick a knife in & ruin.

A huge factor too that made a difference was that not only were the cheesecakes beautiful as well as scrumptious, but Heather also provided fab customer service – there was clear communication throughout, which I think is highly important & really goes a long way. Heather was very clear, & kept us updated on what was going on throughout the process, from getting in contact, discussing flavours, making the cheesecakes & delivering, as well as after!

I’ve been following Heather’s page for a while now, keeping an eye on what she’s been making, & there are some amazing looking bits on there – my favourite now being the savoury cheesecakes – if you are a cheese lover (like me) then that is something you need in your life!

Thank you so much to Heather for allowing us to try these gorgeous desserts – we enjoyed each & every crumb!

GIN & TONIC LOAF // RECIPE

Thank you to Baking with Ames (@bakingwithames) for the following content

Dairy free gin and tonic loaf 

What you’ll need: 
For the loaf For the syrup
200g dairy free butter 125g caster sugar 
200g caster sugar 125ml tonic water
4 eggs, beaten 2 tbsp gin
200g self-raising flour Icing sugar
½ tsp baking powder
The zest of 1 lime
100ml (3 fl oz) gin

How to make: 
– Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Line base and sides of a 900g  (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment, or insert a premade loaf tin case. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until pale in colour and fluffy. 
– In a separate bowl / mug beat the eggs together, and gradually add to the butter and sugar mix. 
– Now, fold in the flour, baking powder and lime zest. Make sure everything is fully mixed in and add the gin. Spoon into your loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes – you may need longer so always check with a skewer to check it’s cooked through. Your skewer should come out clean when its cooked. 
– While your loaf is cooking start making the sugar syrup. Heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, boil the syrup for 2 minutes. 
– Spoon 3tbsp of the syrup into a small bowl and mix in 2tbsp of the gin – this will be used to soak your cake. Remove the pan of remaining syrup off the heat and let it cool. 
– When your cake is cooked, poke holes into the top with a skewer and drizzle the syrup/gin mixture. Once you’ve done this, take the cake out of the loaf tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. 
– Meanwhile, when the sugar syrup has cooled mix in some icing sugar until you have a glossy white mixture perfect for drizzling over the top of your cooled loaf. 
– When the loaf is cool drizzle your icing and leave to set before serving.

COCONUTS ORGANIC VEGAN ICE CREAM // NEW PRODUCT

Thank you to Tremplin Marketing for the following content

Coconuts Organic is a fabulous vegan ice cream that genuinely tastes as good as the dairy! Made with coconut cream and unrefined coconut sugar and just a few other natural ingredients to this base, It’s certified organic, officially vegan, and probably the best non-dairy ice cream you’ll taste!

With Christmas and Veganuary coming up, they have loads of delicious flavours; Mint Choc; Creamy Coconut; Rum ‘n Raisin…..and lots more!

Coconuts Organic (formerly Coconuts Naturally), the vegan ice cream made famous on BBC Dragon’s Den, announce a significant step in the growth of the business as they secure Tesco listing. From June 17th , Coconuts Organic will be available in more than 600 Tesco stores around the UK, with two brand new flavours (Choc Orange Swirl and Double Caramel) exclusive to Tesco. The timing of the store listing will coincide with the official rebrand when Coconuts Naturally will become Coconuts Organic – the same award-winning, all-natural ice cream, but with a new name and striking packaging! Launched in 2015 by entrepreneur Cecily Mills, the Cornwall-based business has achieved more than 100% sales growth every year in its first three years (partly thanks to the ever-growing customer appetite for vegan products) and has firmly established itself as a dominant player in the free-from category. Commenting on the announcement; CEO and Founder, Cecily Mills said; “Securing a listing with Tesco UK is a real milestone for the business, and we are so excited to share our two new flavours with Tesco shoppers. This has been a huge year for us – starting out with a successful crowdfunding campaign, and now the rebrand, new product launch and coming on board with Tesco. For me personally, it feels like a huge achievement to have Coconuts Organic in supermarket freezers across the country.” In addition to the Tesco listing, Coconuts Organic is currently available UK-wide, via Ocado and in independent stores and cafes via two national distributors. Internationally, the product is available in Dubai. The brand is also developing its international expansion plans, with a particular focus on the Middle East and Asia.

MERSEA MUDCAKES // PRODUCT REVIEW

Last week, we received some delicious brownies from local company Mersea Mudcakes. The brownies arrived to us via the post, in a really cute little branded box, so we knew exactly what the package was! Inside of the postal packaging was another box containing the box. Delicately padded too with shredded tissue paper, the whole package was just very cute & thought through (perfect for a gift!)

The brownies inside also looked just as good, (if not better!) The brownies we received were salted caramel flavour – definitely one of our favourite choices. The brownies looked perfect – they were thick, chunky & looked perfectly spongey just as brownies should. What made them even better was their taste – no doubt about it! They were rich & chocolately, so one square piece was I would say more than enough. The salted caramel flavour was light but nice, every other mouthful offered a little hint of the flavouring – delicious. With this all in mind, I would without doubt like to try out Mersea Mudcakes other offerings!

The package as a whole was fantastic, the way the brownies were boxed up & presented was really lovely & gave a good first impression, & then the brownies themselves just topped it all off!

A huge thank you to Miriam @ Mersea Mudcakes for sending these out to us, they were very warmly welcomed!

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KULA CAFE // BRUNCH REVIEW

A couple of weeks back we were lucky enough to be treated to a lovely brunch at Kula Cafe – a cute little cafe located right in the heart of London’s bustling shopping district, Bond Street. The cafe itself is situated on James Street, along with many other cafes, bars & restaurants, the perfect spot if you’re looking for lunch whilst shopping.

We were given menus on arrival, & as the day was beautiful we decided to take a seat outside. Seats outside are quite limited, so you’ve got to be ready to pounce as soon as one becomes free. At first, the cafe didn’t appear to be too busy (I think we’d probably missed the breakfast-time rush) but soon began to fill up both outdoors and in – although we were advised that the cafe does get so much busier – I can only imagine how hectic this must be!

Shortly after arriving we placed our order – and on our menus were;
Drinks
– salted caramel & toffee frappe
– Hollywood diet juice
Brunch
– egg florentine halloumi
– halloumi omelette
(we love halloumi here at Essex Foodies!)

Both drinks were delicious! The frappe was creamy & sweet, whilst the juice was fruity & refreshing. Both drinks were of a medium size which was perfect, too much frappe can be too sickly & too much fruit juice can be acidic, but the sizes here were fine & lasted us throughout our visit.

Both of our brunches were also delicious, we were blown away by the sizes of the portions & their generosity on ‘extras’ on the plate. The omelette was served with with a salad garnish as well as a slice of toast, definitely more than enough to set you up for a day of shopping! The omelette itself was completely full to the brim with cheese (no complaints here whatsoever!), & layered with perfectly cooked halloumi – my friend enjoyed this dish & she completely rated it. I went for the eggs florentine halloumi, which was a dish made up of poached eggs, hash brown, Hollandaise sauce, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, halloumi & salad all served on a bed of toast. I was honestly not expecting the dish to be as huge as it was, but I soon managed to work my way through it! Everything about the food was perfect, it looked lovely, was full of flavour & was very filling & kept us going throughout the day without the need to snack on anything – ideal if you are up in London for the day really. I would also say that this give you great value for money, some places would charge extra for the sides of toast & salad but Kula include these, certainly worth noting.

Once we’d finished our ‘mains’ if you like, we were then surprised with a massive Eton Mess waffle! This dessert was humungous but again, we soon found our way through this between the pair of us – my advice here would be that if you do visit, be aware that these desserts are really, really big & would easily be enough for 2 people.
The waffle itself was fluffy & fresh, & all the toppings were again fresh & worked beautifully alongside the waffle. The waffle was stacked with whipped cream, ice cream, meringue & fruits including strawberries, raspberries & blueberries as well as a fruity sauce. It was nice to have refreshing toppings to it rather than it be overloaded with rich chocolate for example (especially with the weather).

The pair of us were astounded by the quality of the food at Kula, everything that we had was superb. Not only was the food very photogenic, but it was tasty – there are no other words for it in all honesty! We would most definitely visit here again, & would recommend trying out Kula if you are ever close by!

A massive thank you to all at Kula for welcoming & looking after us!

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COOKIES & CONES // DESSERT BAR REVIEW

We have recently been lucky enough to be invited down to Cookies & Cones in Leigh-On-Sea. Cookies & Cones, as you may have guessed by the name, is a dessert bar – serving a variety of cookie doughs, waffles, sundaes & much more.

On our visit we had the pleasure of indulging on waffles & cookie dough desserts, along with some sweet & flavoursome coffees. I visited along with my Mum & our choices were –
(Myself) – White chocolate chip cookie dough served with Lotus Biscoff ice cream, biscuit crumb & sauce (I am a HUGE fan of Biscoff!) & white chocolate shavings, washed down with a caramel latte.
(Mum) Waffle served with chocolate ice cream, white chocolate sauce, sprinkled with hundreds & thousands, & washed down with a cappuccino.

Each of our desserts were perfect & just the right amount, I think sometimes desserts can be a bit too much, especially with waffles, I can only ever manage to eat about half before feeling too full & bloated, however Cookies & Cones have got this right & give you a slightly smaller waffle than average – no complaints at all!! It’s a shame to waste, so this was much more preferable to myself & Mum. The cookie dough was also the right amount, & the contrast between the warm cookie dough & the cold ice cream was very complimentary. Our drinks were also perfect – my latte was deliciously milky & wasn’t overpowered by the caramel syrup (I think sometimes the syrups can ruin coffees if too much is used!) & Mum’s cappuccino was perfectly frothy.

The pair of us thoroughly enjoyed our desserts & drinks, & were very well looked after by all member of the team, who were all so accommodating! A huge thank you to Cookies & Cones for inviting us down & for making sure everything was perfect for us.

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PETTY 4S // RESTAURANT REVIEW

A couple of weeks ago, Essex Foodies very politely received a message on Instagram inviting us to come along & visit this brand new restaurant in Canvey. With the restaurant being so new, there was very little to go by (no website, nothing on Tripadvisor), so we were pretty much going in blind, other than what we had seen on Petty 4s Instagram page (all of which looked incredible). Our visit did not disappoint, & our review will show you exactly why.

We visited Petty 4s on Friday evening, so a nice little treat at the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. Upon arrival, manager Leah showed us to our table & advised that we would not be choosing from the menu, but rather sampling a few dishes from the menu so that we could get a feel for it all.

To begin, we enjoyed some homemade sourdough bread with butter. The bread was exceptionally good, & extremely more-ish, we tried to resist asking for more as we didn’t want to get too full before we had even started but we soon gave in!

For our starter(s), we enjoyed crab ravioli followed by garlic chicken. In all honesty, I was a bit nervous with the crab as when I have tried it before, I’ve not liked it. I’ve found it to be, as silly as it sounds, too fishy. I still gave it a go, & was very pleasantly surprised! Everything at Petty 4s is made from scratch, so the pasta had been freshly made & the crab had been brought it fresh from Billingsate Market (alive!) & prepared by Chef Alfie in the kitchen. The ravioli was absolutely lovely & would definitely be something I’d order in future.

Next up was the garlic chicken. A simple dish very well presented, as you can see.

The chicken was nice, & I did enjoy it, however it wouldn’t be something I would necessarily order (just personal preference). I did really enjoy the bed of spinach & sweetcorn which it came on – an unusual combination of flavours that worked.

Next up on the menu was steak… (woohoo!) I absolutely love steak & will quite often order one if I go out for dinner, so I was very excited to try it Petty 4s-style.

The steak was cooked medium-rare & was served with fondant potatoes, caramelised onion & parsnip puree, all of which were fantastic. The steak itself was melt-in-the-mouth & left nothing to be desired. I would certainly order this for myself, & would definitely recommend it.

Following on from our steak main, we enjoyed two different desserts – lemon posset & chocolate cake.

The lemon posset was lovely, light & refreshing, almost a palette cleanser after our main meal. The portion size was just right, & I especially loved the modern/trendy bowls that the dessert was served in. If you ever happen to be in Canvey along the seafront, I would definitely recommend popping in & getting yourself this over an ice cream!

And finally.. The chocolate cake!

The chocolate cake was delightful! It was rich, sticky & the right taste to finish off our meal. I generally find chocolate cakes a bit too rich, however this was just right, thanks to its small portion size & serving of ice cream.

My Mum & I were delighted with everything that we tried, & both agree that we would definitely visit again (especially after their Sunday roast was mentioned). The service was fantastic, & the staff couldn’t do enough for us.

Thank you to all at Petty 4s, especially Leah & Alfie, for inviting us & looking after us, we had a fantastic evening, & left with very content tummies!

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YAYA SHAKES // WAFFLE BAR REVIEW

Last Friday evening, I visited Yaya Shakes in Brentwood, after being invited down on Instagram. Anyone who knows me will know how much I love a waffle, so this was a treat! I visited Yaya along with my Mum, we both enjoyed a waffle & a milkshake each (& yes, it was definitely too much!)

Our waffles of choice were Cream Indulgence for myself & Choccy Woccy for Mum. Waffles are freshly made while you wait, so when they’re served, they are lovely, warm & fresh. To say we enjoyed our waffles is an understatement – they were literally inhaled by us both! What I liked most is that the toppings are not limited, in the sense that you haven’t only got, say the choice of only one type/brand of chocolate on your waffle, & I also like that not all of the waffles are heavily doused in chocolate/sauces, but there are alternatives that include fruit (f you’re slightly healthier than I am!)

Both waffles were incredibly full of flavour & chocolatey-ness, albeit a bit too heavy for my liking (this is nothing to do with Yaya however, just eyes bigger than my belly).

Milkshakes! With the milkshakes, we did not choose but were given a couple of different flavours – & there certainly weren’t any complaints! We were presented with an Oreo milkshake & a Lotus Biscoff & Twix milkshake. Mum really fancied Biscoff anyway so she had that, & I had the Oreo. Both milkshakes were thick & rich, & absolutely jam-packed full of sweet flavour. Neither of us ended up finishing our milkshakes, purely because waffles & milkshakes together is just far too sickly – although, we did give it our best shot.

Both of us absolutely loved our sweet treats here & would definitely visit again. Thank you to Yaya Shakes for the invite & for allowing us to sample their delights, we look forward to popping by in the near future (& making our way through the menu!)

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AMELIA’S BAKES // POSTAL BROWNIE REVIEW

Back in October last year, I had the absolute delight of sampling an absolutely gorgeous bake from @ameliasbakes_ ! The first thing that stood out for me was how well presented Amelia’s package was. I was surprised to open the package to a really prettily decorated bake, with a lovely bow & some chocolates! I thought this was such a lovely touch & makes me more inclined to order in future (especially if looking for a gift).
On to the bake! I was fortunate enough to sample a brownie bake topped with cookie dough 🍪 AMAZING! Sickly but amazing. You would only need to have a tiny piece at a time, which means more bake for your money! The brownie bake was also enjoyed by a couple of friends of mine, who cheekily asked for more, so Amelia must be doing something right 🙈.
Overall I would recommend Amelia’s Bakes, brilliant for a treat for yourself but also one to consider if you’re stuck for a gift idea.
Thank you to Amelia so much for sharing with us.

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FLOUR GIRLS CAKEHOUSE // POSTAL BROWNIE REVIEW

Thank you to the lovely@flourgirlscakehouse who sent me these delicious brownies! I was lucky enough to sample both Oreo chocolate brownies & Nutella blondies. In particular, I really enjoyed the blondies – these are ever so tasty but aren’t as heavy as your standard brownie (which means you can devour more 😋) and anything Oreo related is a hit in my books!
Thanks @flourgirlscakehouse for posting these out to me! Make sure you check out the page & get your orders in!

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